Thursday, February 23, 2006
THE AVETT BROTHERS | Four Thieves Gone | Ramseur Records
The Avett Brothers are known for their incendiary live shows. There has not been a group that has set fire to so many Southeastern cities and towns since Union General William T. Sherman. The North Carolina acoustic group, which is composed of brothers Scott and Seth along with bassist Bob Crawford, is becoming huge in their home state—though they are about as popular on the West Coast as an order of grits in a California eatery.
Though 2004’s excellent Mignonette may be an easier introduction to this superb band, The Avett Brother’s latest, Four Thieves Gone, is a dizzying collection of songs that push the boundaries of what acoustic music can be. While there has been a lot of talk about new bands playing old timey acoustic music with punk attitude, The Avett Brothers actually play a couple original punk songs (“Matrimony” and “Talk on Indolence,” which ricochets between impassioned yelping and balladry) on banjos and acoustic guitars. Other songs find the band emulating rock oldies (“Pretend Love”) or beating fellow NC native son Ryan Adams at his own game on “Famous Flower of Manhattan.”
Aided and abetted by Paleface, a singer/songwriter of the 1990s anti-folk
movement, Four Thieves Gone shows the boys adding new elements to their sound like the pounding piano on “Colorshow.” If you are a fan of roots music or an aficionado of unique songwriters, pick this CD up before the rest of the nation catches on. (ST)
SANTANA | Santana III—Legacy Edition | Columbia/Legacy
This SF band’s third disc is most notable for a few things, in its original incarnation. Firstly, like most bands, record #3 has better crafted songs on it than the one before it (even though Abraxas was a huge hit), and secondly, when the band stretched out, it sounded confident. Most peculiar was that the band’s star ceded his role on this one—Carlos Santana plays second lead guitar here to teen prodigy Neal Schon.
The reissue has the three radio hits in tow, plus the single mix of “No One To Depend On” and a smattering of outtakes. It also features a second disc of what was the final set at the Fillmore West, replete with long jams and a surprising rocked up take of Miles Davis and Joe Zawinul’s “In A Silent Way”. The sound’s great, the playing crisp and the original lineup was about to disintegrate shortly after this was released in 1971. This is a must for a fan of the group and its era. (JA)
VARIOUS ARTISTS | Essential Irish Drinking Songs & Sing Alongs: Whiskey in the Jar |Legacy Recordings
What else would ye wan’ fer St. Paddy’s day, laddie or lassie? Aptly titled this collection is, as these are very much essential, assuming one intends to get blasted and have an aural accompaniment. And as anyone that’s ever spent time in an Irish-laden part of the world, one knows these tunes like the back of the hand.
Commencing with a wee tune made famous by Thin Lizzy, Metallica and Peter, Paul and Mary (that’s right, “Whiskey in the Jar”) and going through every and any other pub standard, this is corn beef and cabbage, shamrock and donning of the green noise. Most intriguing is the inclusion of latecomers the Dropkick Murphys, led by Shane MacGowan through “Wild Rover.”
The kicker for our time would be “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye,” one of the most brutally frank anti-war songs ever written. (JA)